it is in 2013 that digital wide format print was identified two be very vibrant in the print market. Three groups are driving this growth: conventional sign shops and screen printers adding or switching to digital printing methods; existing wide-format users wanting to increase capacity or improve quality and/or productivity to meet customer demand; and commercial offset printers or prepress specialists who are keen to capture a larger proportion of their customers’ print spend.
There is still a high rate of technological development in wide-format print. There are new ways of printing and designing emerging each day such as signage, package prototyping as well as label printing that seem to be emerging each day.
There however seems to be a problem when it comes to integrating the business of an individual and the production of wide print despite there being improvements each day.
For instance the wide format printers are very isolated in their productions from all the other kind of prints that are available in the market place. Products to facilitate this integration are available, but lack of customer focus, awareness or trust in automation have been barriers to their uptake.
Wide-format work typically requires more complex finishing than other types of print, sometimes to the point where the direct print costs are only a small part of the total job value. Complex one-off jobs will typically require creative input, management time, shipping and installation in addition to the printing process. The norm of this kind of printing is that a lot of customization is desired and this leads to the customers being very reluctant in accepting automatwion.
The manual method of conducting wide format printing is very time consuming and may result into a lot of wastawge. It is worth to understand that over time it becomes tedious not to be able to load color uniformly as well as to utilize the machines efficiently without leaving some of them idle.
Every point at which manual processes occur is a point at which costs can rapidly be added and yet these costs are often unaccounted. Job costing models based on ‘per square metre’ pricing can lead to work being done at a loss, especially where time spent on file preparation before output is not recorded. Since there are no bottlenecks in place, it becomes very difficult to identify those areas whereby money is being lost as there are no available details to facilitate this.
As the wide-format print provider market becomes more crowded and competitive, margins will come under increasing pressure as they have in offset print.